What the Tech? How to Use Alexa as an Intercom
“Alexa, make my life easier during quarantine.”
Never before have we seen a school year start off the way it’s going to in 2020. Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle and High School students will do at least part of their classroom attendance at home. Not to mention many college students attending online classes since many of the dorms are closed.
On top of that, moms and dads are still working from home. Many families will have 4 or 5 people spread out around the house doing their work every morning and afternoon.
How are you going to communicate? If you need to call everyone down for lunch or dinner you don’t have to walk to each room or shout down the hall. You can use Alexa.
Amazon doesn’t make actual numbers available but earlier this year the company stated there were hundreds of millions of Alexa enabled devices in use in homes around the country. If you have one (or 5) you should put it to good use during the safer-at-home order.
One of Alexa’s most helpful but under utilized skill is communication. By asking Alexa to “drop-in” onto another device in another room you’ll be able to have a conversation with the person in that room as if you were on the telephone or using an old fashioned intercom.
Any Echo device listed on the account will receive a notification and will transmit audio both ways. You can also drop in on multiple rooms or groups at the same time so everyone can join the conversation.
Amazon’s Echo devices can also transmit announcements. If you’re in the kitchen and you need to tell everyone in the house that dinner is ready or the table needs to be set, just say “Alexa make an announcement”. The device will record your announcement and ask if you’re ready to send it. When you do the announcement is played on every Echo device on the account.
Last year Amazon made the skill available on Fire TVs. If you have a remote, just press it and say “Alexa make an announcement”. You’ll then be able to send that announcement throughout the house.
The skill also works with most compatible devices including a ROAV Car Charger and other smart home devices. You can also drop-in or make announcements using a smartphone and the Alexa app. There’s an icon at the bottom of the screen labeled “communication”.
It’s a good idea to name the Echo devices before using the drop-in skill to make sure you’re dropping in on the correct device.